First, the glorious flowers: some look like crushed paper tissue, others like crinkled pieces of silk. They range in colour from bleached white through parchment with the merest blush of pink to a pink that reminds me of the sticky candyfloss I ate as a child at the local fair.
Once the busy little pollinators have done their work, the fruit begins to develop and my taste buds start to stir as I look forward to the delicious juicy treats to come. First, the clusters of little green globes and then, as they ripen in the summer sun, the tinges of red appear, hinting at the lusciousness to come.
And then one day, when I’m out on one of my wanders, I spot it, the very first black berry. Will it still be a little sour and will it flood my mouth with those delectable full fruit flavours of perfect ripeness?
Here in Britain they are called brambles, in my New Zealand homeland we called them blackberries and, in scientific terms, they are all grouped together under the unprepossessing name of Rubus fruticosus agg. Agg stands for aggregate, as in a grouping together of a range of very closely related biological organisms, because Rubus fruticosus includes a myriad of hybridisations. But, whatever you call them, for me they are one of the things I most love about late summer and, yes, I have already eaten my first yummy blackberries of 2016.